Reus: Ozil can compete with Ronaldo
Marco Reus believes Germany teammate Mesut Ozil has the quality required to compete with Cristiano Ronaldo for the Ballon d'Or.
Ozil, who left Real Madrid for Arsenal last summer, made the 23-man shortlist for the 2013 award but had not been a serious contender for the prize, which Ronaldo claimed ahead of Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery.
However, the 25-year-old recently underlined his desire to be crowned the world's best player, and Reus believes he is capable of doing so.
"For Ozil's part, he certainly has the class to compete with Ronaldo," Reus told Sport Bild.
Ozil's prospects of winning the 2014 award currently appear remote after a difficult second half of the season with Arsenal and persistent questions being raised as to his role with Germany.
There have been calls for Reus to take the Arsenal man's place in the centre for Die Nationalmannschaft but the Borussia Dortmund star insists he is happy to remain out wide.
"I have played the World Cup qualifiers on the left wing, and that position suits me fine," Reus said. "The Bundestrainer [Joachim Loew] also knows that I can play in the middle, on the right wing and in attack. I don't care which position I play. My goal is to play at the World Cup."
On Sunday, during Germany's 2-2 draw with Cameroon, fans at the Borussia Park in Moenchengladbach whistled Ozil when he was substituted in the 64th minute.
Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng defended the midfielder, and head coach Loew said that Ozil "did not have his best day" but that the world "will see a strong Mesut at the World Cup."
Former Germany captain Michael Ballack, though, is unsure what to expect from Ozil in Brazil this summer.
"It's difficult to say where his head is going to be at the World Cup -- I saw him play for the national team at the weekend and I was not surprised, not scared, but a little bit concerned, by his performances actually," Ballack said, according to the Daily Mirror.
"He has done well for Germany, and he played well during the qualifying campaign, but in the last few months - since his move to Arsenal - he has not been the same player, in terms of his confidence, that we used to see in the national team."
Loew recently said that Ozil should improve his body language and Ballack agrees with the national coach.
"He is not a leader on the pitch, like a captain," the former Bayern Munich and Chelsea star said. "People expect so much of him, but he can improve his body language massively because he is now at an age where he is no longer a young talent or a promising player.
"As one of our best players he has to take more responsibility, and we expect more from him at the moment. Hopefully, when the World Cup starts, we will see a different player."